Published By: 1World Online
After the controversial shooting of Michael Brown, in Ferguson, Missouri, lots of emphasis on the use of body cameras by police has begun. And it is a good thing, for the safety and civil rights of the public, and the actions and protection of the police officers themselves.
But will it stop there? Will it be only police officers using body-cams or could the practice spread to other forms of law enforcement and other professions as well?
This week, the NY Post ran an interesting, op-ed column where the suggestion of placing cameras in public school classrooms was discussed. In that article the writer addressed the issue of how monitoring student/teacher interaction can help educators pinpoint where changes in the classroom are needed.
That might be a wonderful idea, from an educational standpoint, but where does the use of cameras and body-cams go from there?
In a society that is already paranoid of being digitally monitored, tracked and evaluated daily, will the reasons for the use of body-cams by institutions and corporate employers start cropping up everywhere?
Which profession will be next to decide placing body-cams on their employees will help to increase production, guard against workplace theft, sexual harassment and avoid lawsuits?
See where this is going?
How many times have we taken our cars into an auto service center for a repair, and then later wondered if the work was actually done properly or if only a temporary fix was applied? Maybe we would all feel better about our cars’ repairs if the auto mechanic had to wear a body-cam while repairing our car’s brakes.
Of course, cameras exist in the workplace already. They are all around us and we have become quite used to them, but how many employees have to wear a body-cam to record their every move and listen to every word they say?
Putting body-cams on police may be an unavoidable result due to the tragedy and the racial unrest from the Michael Brown incident. But like everything else in life, there are always reasons why a winning solution to a specific problem quickly gets expanded to solve other problems.
Why put dash-cams in police cars only?
Maybe in the not too distant future, auto insurance companies will decide that all cars have to be fitted with a dashboard camera as well. Certainly their logic would be indisputable. There would never be any question anymore about who was responsible for causing an auto accident or for running someone over.
Suppose surgeons are told to wear body-cams while performing operations to protect hospitals from malpractice lawsuits?
How about putting dash-cams in NASCAR? If Tony Stewart had a dash-cam in his race car when he hit Kevin Ward Jr., would it have supplied us with more evidence into the actions of Ward and Tony Stewart right before the accident?
The advent of thousands of drones flying around in the skies above us for commercial purposes is almost upon us, and will become reality at the end of 2015. Surely, by then, most police cars will have dash-cams and all cops will be wearing body-cams.
And that’s a good thing, but we have to be cautious how far we let the practice evolve.
Trying to supply more transparency could further erode basic privacy and civil liberty issues.
Do we really want our boss at Walmart deciding that we have to wear a body-cam so he knows how many times we are going to the bathroom, and what we are saying about him behind his back?
Joseph E. Rathjen is a freelance writer and an Opinion Writer at 1World Online – America’s Fastest Growing Research Engine.